Volunteer Bilingual (English/Spanish) Summer Advocates in St. Paul, Minnesota and Moorhead, Minnesota

Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, Inc. (SMRLS) is seeking Volunteer Bilingual (English/Spanish) Summer Advocates to assist its Agricultural Worker Project (AWP).  AWP has offices in Saint Paul and Moorhead and is seeking summer advocates at both locations.

SMRLS provides free, high-quality legal help in critical civil matters to low-income people in southern Minnesota, as well as to eligible agricultural workers throughout Minnesota and North Dakota. For more than 100 years, SMRLS has helped individuals and families secure and protect their basic needs, maintaining freedom from hunger, homelessness, sickness, and abuse.  SMRLS has an experienced, dynamic staff of 60 attorneys and 45 additional staff and values, welcomes, and promotes diversity in all aspects of its work. 

AWP provides free civil legal services to agricultural workers in Minnesota and North Dakota and focuses its work on improving their working and living conditions through legal representation and education.  It handles cases related to wage theft, workplace health and safety violations, inadequate employer-provided housing, and employment discrimination/retaliation, among other legal matters that specifically impact agricultural workers.  Additionally, AWP educates agricultural workers in Minnesota and North Dakota regarding their legal rights through extensive outreach and presentations to agricultural worker communities.

AWP’s summer advocates will play a vital role in increasing the program’s outreach capacity throughout Minnesota and North Dakota during its busiest season.  Summer advocates will have the opportunity to learn firsthand about, and contribute to the effective resolution of, the legal problems of agricultural workers under the supervision and guidance of AWP’s dedicated attorneys and paralegals.

 Responsibilities:

  • Perform outreach to agricultural workers throughout Minnesota and/or North Dakota, including during the evenings, with other AWP advocates in order to provide information regarding legal rights and AWP’s services and to conduct intake interviews
  • Draft reports related to outreach
  • Answer/return phone calls, conduct intake interviews by phone, and provide referrals as necessary
  • Conduct legal research and draft memos, if a law student
  • Draft letters in an effort to resolve legal disputes, if a law student
  • Other duties as based on interest, education, and skill set

 Qualifications

  • Fluent in spoken and written English and Spanish
  • Demonstrated interest in serving the needs of low-income communities, preferably agricultural workers specifically
  • Comfort working with individuals from varying economic, cultural, educational, etc. backgrounds
  • Strong oral and written communication skills
  • Ability to remain calm and act professionally under pressure
  • Computer proficiency
  • Students who have completed their first year of law school are preferred but those not in law school will also be considered
  • Possession of a current driver’s license and vehicle is preferred but not required

Position open:

May 2017.  End date is flexible although August is preferred. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis but early applications are encouraged.  

 Compensation:

This is a volunteer opportunity.  We are happy to assist summer advocates who are seeking outside funding or credit.  Outreach-related travel expenses will be reimbursed.     

Time commitment:

Flexible although 25-35 hours/week is preferred.  Willingness to conduct outreach some evenings is necessary.

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